There are two books I want to recommend to you from what I’ve read in the past two months, both are ones that are now in my hall of fame. Call me lucky!
Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi
The first one is a historic fiction called Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It is a generational family saga that tells the story and lives of descendants of two half-sisters in Africa living in different villages, and how their own and lineage’s lives are forever changed. This book is somewhat similar to one of my other favorite books, Pachinko. Both touches on how history imprinted on people’s lives for generations. With her debut novel, Gyasi in particular wants to explore what it means to be black in America today, why they feel the way they feel, what steps have led to the state today of racial tension, and how slavery and colonialism change over time.
The writing is not perfect, some parts can seem forced and stitched together to make a point valid. The book critic at The New Yorker says this book is full of stereotypes. Well…I wouldn’t go that far. Also, even if it’s stereotypical, not enough people are aware of the visceral reality of it. As Gyasi said, “We need to know and remember our history, so we can better move forward.”
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger — Marc Levinson
The other book I want to recommend to you has been sleeping on my bookshelf for a long time. It intimates me with its thickness and serious topic, even though many people raved about it. I’ve finally picked it up after running out of things to read, it certainly didn’t disappoint. We all know the world economy prospered from globalization, which stems from specialization. What this book showed is that none of these would be possible without the invention of shipping containers, which drastically reduces the cost of global trading. The innovation and adoption of containers did not happen at the snap of a finger, Levinson unveiled the story chapter by chapter, and each story is like a mini case study of business, the economy, and the society as a whole, and some are the prophecy of our future. I certainly didn’t expect it to be so fascinating to read.